The Johns Hopkins Hospital recently partnered with Sisters Together and Reaching (STAR) for their annual block party at Eager Park, a revitalized community space two blocks north of The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through the sweltering August heat and humidity, hundreds of East Baltimore residents attended, and there were over 50 vendors who provided health education and screenings, social services, music, food and activities. The event, which drew hospital staff members, politicians and local residents, also continued to tie Johns Hopkins and the East Baltimore community even closer together.
The theme of the health festival was “meeting in the middle, bridging the gap between the old and the new.” Redonda Miller, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and a speaker at the event, felt that the theme was apropos for the connection between the hospital and East Baltimore. “Dating back to our founding in 1889, we’ve always had a relationship with our community,” she says. Miller believes the partnerships with local organizations are vital to make a difference in Baltimore, saying “Johns Hopkins cannot do it alone.”
Since its inception, STAR has established itself as a group focused on improving community health. Debra Hickman, co-founder and CEO of STAR, sees Johns Hopkins’ participation in the block party as fitting since they share the same goals: to offer East Baltimore the care and resources needed. “Our well-being, prosperity and education—all of those things are important to both [Johns Hopkins] as well as the neighbors living in the community,” Hickman says.
Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh spoke about how the relationship between the hospital and the local area will continue to benefit both parties. “I don’t think you can have a better partner than Johns Hopkins,” she said. “For Johns Hopkins to really ingratiate itself in the community bodes well for all of the organizations and so forth that surround the neighborhood.” With the success of events such as this, both can expect to continually grow and prosper in the future.